It all started when a group of citizens in northern Wisconsin got together because they saw gaps in the healthcare resources in their community. They dug in and did the work to design a solution to address those needs. They submitted a grant application for federal funding, and they got it.
Then they had to create a Board of Directors, become a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, hire staff, and find a building.
And they did. In only took four months for the group to create a community health center, and they have done a lot since.
In 2008, a building that had previously been a home, a brewery, a coffee shop and who knows what else became The Lakes Community Health Center in Iron River, Wisconsin. They also worked with the city of Ashland to open up a dental clinic, but that was only the beginning.
In 2013, The Lakes had the opportunity to grow and help to serve more communities. They merged with North Woods Community Health Center. North Woods, which was created in 1976 by a similar community group, had clinic locations in Hayward and Minong. The new organization changed its name to NorthLakes Community Clinic.
And in February of 2019, a third Community Health Center joined the NorthLakes family: Northern Health Centers, with sites in Lakewood, Oconto and White Lake, and which was founded in 1978.
NorthLakes’ patient-majority board believes that there are many healthcare facilities in our service area that could benefit from joining an FQHC. The following organizations have also joined NorthLakes:
Ashland Area Council on AODA – Ashland
Treehouse Occupational Therapy – Ashland
Fullmoon Dental – Turtle Lake
Bay Area Mental Health – Washburn
Birch Point Dental – Birchwood
Gilbaugh Chiropractic – Ashland
Chiropractic Health Services – Park Falls
Sateren Eye Care – Ashland
Habeck Chiropractic – Lakewood
Today, we operate 14 clinic sites in 12 communities across 20,000 square miles of northern Wisconsin.
In addition to our clinical services, we also have community outreach programs that are active in 18 counties. Our community outreach programs include:
School-Based Behavioral Health – Active in 19 school districts across 11 counties.
Superior Smiles – Wisconsin’s largest Seal-A-Smile program active in over 200 schools
Dental Outreach – Active in 12 county WIC offices, 28 daycares and 5 skilled nursing facilities.
Our mission is clear: Respond to the health care needs of our communities with an integrated array of quality services and actively remove barriers to care.
And that is what we will continue to do.